Does outdoor food & beverage advertising target Hispanic adolescents?

Ana Laura Herrera, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction: Child and adolescent obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 30 years and significant racial disparities persist as overweight and obesity rates tend to be higher and have increased more rapidly among minority groups, including Hispanics. Although some research has focused on the food environment and food marketing, there has been a lack of research on outdoor food and beverage advertising, particularly its relationship to the ethnic composition of a geographic location. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine if outdoor food and beverage advertising around middle and high schools in Austin was related to the ethnic composition of their students. Methods: Secondary data from the Outdoor MEDIA study, an observational study designed to document and describe the prevalence of outdoor food and beverage advertising around 34 middle and 13 high schools in Austin, Texas metropolitan area was used to determine if the prevalence of outdoor food and beverage advertising varied based on the ethnic composition of students in the schools. Conducted T-tests to compare means of advertisements within each cut point (40%, 50%, and 60% Hispanic students). Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine if the number of food and beverage advertisements (establishment, free standing, total, and price promotion) varied with the percentage of Hispanic students in the schools. Results: There were a total of 47 schools included in the analysis. We observed a number of notable differences in the total numbers and means in the types of F&B advertisements in the three racial/ethnic school composition cut points (i.e. 40%, 50% and 60%). Schools with more Hispanic students were exposed to significantly higher numbers of establishment, freestanding, total and price promotion F&B advertisements. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that outdoor food and beverage advertisements are more prevalent around schools with more Hispanic students. Researchers and policy makers should consider the implementation of policy interventions, such as zoning regulations that strengthen marketing and advertising guidelines to reduce the overexposure of Hispanic youth to the advertising of calorie-dense, high-fat foods around schools in an effort to reduce obesity disparities and improve health outcomes among this subpopulation.

Subject Area

Marketing|Behavioral psychology|Social psychology|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Herrera, Ana Laura, "Does outdoor food & beverage advertising target Hispanic adolescents?" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1598344.